Herb: Pestle Parsnip

Latin name: Lomatium nudicaule

Family: Umbelliferae

Medicinal use of Pestle Parsnip:

The seeds are analgesic, diaphoretic, febrifuge, laxative and pectoral. They have been chewed in the treatment of fevers, colds and sore throats. An infusion has been used by pregnant women to ensure an easy delivery. A poultice of the crushed seeds has been applied to the head to relieve the pain of headaches. The poultice has also been applied to sore places, pains and itches.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Dry open or lightly wooded areas at low to moderate elevations

Edible parts of Pestle Parsnip:

Root - raw or cooked. The taste is rather like a hot spicy parsnip. The root can be roasted and used as a vegetable, or can be dried and ground into a powder then used as a flavouring in soups etc. Leaves and young shoots - eaten as a vegetable or used as a celery-like flavouring in soups etc. The leaves, stems and flowers are infused and used as a beverage. Seed - raw or cooked. The immature seed is chewed as a refreshing snack and can be used as a flavouring in soups etc. The vitamin C content of young plants is remarkably high, one cup providing more than the recommended daily allowance. (the part of the plant is not referred to, it is probably the leaves)

Other uses of the herb:

The seed is spicy and aromatic, it is used as a house fumigant and deodorant. It also repels mosquitoes.

Propagation of Pestle Parsnip:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed can be rather slow to germinate, when sown in the spring it usually takes at least 12 months to germinate. Giving it a period of cold stratification might reduce this time. The seedlings need to be pricked out into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle, and should be planted out into their permanent positions in the summer. Fresh seed can be sown immediately in situ. Division may be possible in spring or autumn.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry open or lightly wooded areas at low to moderate elevations

Known hazards of Lomatium nudicaule:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.